LETTER: Delay on drug legislation ‘means more avoidable deaths’

by STEVE and ELAINE POZYCKI in the Bernardsville News

EDITOR: Guidelines recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) take direct aim at the over-prescribing of opiate-based painkillers, urging primary care doctors to try alternatives such as physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications first.

Underlying these strong recommendations to prescribe opiate-based painkillers, such as Oxycodone and Vicadin, sparingly is that the over-prescribing of these highly addictive drugs is the primary cause of our epidemic of addiction, both to these pills and to heroin, their illegal street cousin – an epidemic that has become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States and in New Jersey, taking nearly 30,000 lives in 2014.

Read complete letter here.


OP-ED: SUPER BOWL AD SENDS WRONG MESSAGE ABOUT PRESCRIBING OPIOIDS

by Steve and Elaine Pozycki from the New Jersey Spotlight

With opioid overdoses the chief cause of accidental death in New Jersey, the media can’t make these drugs an acceptable part of life

This week, the White House rightly criticized an ad, which aired during the Super Bowl, designed to promote a drug to treat opioid-induced constipation. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other officials blasted the ad, saying that the pharmaceutical companies should be running ads combating addiction, not fueling it. The danger of these kind of ads is that they normalize the use of opioid-based prescription painkillers, the overprescribing of which is the main driver fueling the epidemic of addiction to opiate-based painkillers and heroin.

Read complete article here.


POZYCKI: Notify parents before teens are prescribed opiate

From the Asbury Park Press:

“While addiction to opiate-based prescription pain killers and their illegal street cousin heroin is spreading in all demographic and age groups, teenagers are at particular risk. High school students who use prescription opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin and other pain relievers are 33 percent more likely to abuse the drug by the age of 23, according to a recent University of Michigan Study. Further, New Jersey now has the sixth-highest youth overdose rate in the nation.”

Read the whole article here.


Recent Stories


Steve and Elaine Pozycki’s opinion piece on heroin addiction published in Daily Record

OPINION: Over-prescribing painkillers fuels heroin rise

The Centers from Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) July report documents a disturbing increase in heroin use. The use of this highly addictive and dangerous drug is now expanding to all demographic groups.

In fact, the most rapid expansion of heroin use and addiction is now occurring among segments of the population that up until recently were not as impacted: women and those with higher incomes. This signals a disturbing widening of a problem that had already reached epidemic proportions. Deaths from heroin overdoses have tripled over the past several years with more than 8,000 people now dying annually.

Read the whole article here.


N.J. bill gives warning on dangers of painkillers

By Elaine Pozycki and Steve Pozycki

The over-prescribing of prescription painkillers is the main source of today’s opiate addiction epidemic.

Three out of four people who are addicted to heroin and other opiates started with a prescription pain reliever. Opiate overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, as well as in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. About 25,000 people die each year from these overdoses: 17,000 from opiate-based prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin and oxycodone, and 8,000 from heroin.

Read whole article.


Legislation Would Require NJ Doctors to Discuss Opiate Addiction

From NJTV –
By Brenda Flanagan
Correspondent

“I was a heroin user. And I started off taking pills,” said Sharon Daniels.

Daniels says she kicked the habit but notes a steady stream of people come to Trenton’s Hanover Street looking to buy drugs.

“For five Percocets, real Percocets, it might cost you $50. If you use pills, there’s good chance you’re gonna be on your way to heroin. Shooting or snorting. The street value of heroin is much cheaper than buying pills,” she said.

Read complete article here.


Requiring doctors to check prescription database could help stem N.J.’s opiate epidemic

Read a recent Opinion article by Elaine and Steve Pozycki in the Star Ledger

Gov. Chris Christie’s use of the bully pulpit to shine a light on the epidemic of opiate addiction in our state has begun to generate a long overdue public conversation about the most effective ways to solve the problem. Certainly, expanding access to treatment as the Governor proposes is a key component of any comprehensive solution.

Read complete Opinion article here.


OP-ED: PREVENT OPIATE ADDICTION AT THE SOURCE THROUGH EDUCATING PATIENTS

Read a recent Op-ed by Elaine and Steve Pozycki in NJ Spotlight:

Over the past two decades, the number of prescriptions for opiate-based painkillers has tripled, while dosages have grown stronger

The prime source for the national explosion of opiate addiction — whether in the form of painkillers such as OxyContin or in the form of illegal street drugs such as heroin — is the dramatic increase in the use of opiate-based prescription drugs. Over the past 20 years, there has been a threefold increase in the number of prescriptions issued for opiate-based painkillers, as well as a major step-up in dosage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions in 2012 alone. Further, it has been well-documented that some people when they can no longer get access to prescription painkillers feed their opiate addiction by turning to heroin.

Read complete Op-ed here.

 


Over-the-counter pain medications are more effective for acute pain than prescribed painkillers

From the NSC:

Today the National Safety Council released a white paper, Evidence for the efficacy of pain medications, compiling research showing the combination of over-the-counter pain medications ibuprofen and acetaminophen are more effective at treating acute pain than opioid painkillers. As patients find that they are unable to refill their hydrocodone prescription, this paper presents alternatives that should be discussed with their physician.

http://www.nsc.org/Pages/NSC-Over-the-counter-.aspx